A TRAILBLAZING scheme to reverse type 2 diabetes is being extended across Craven and Keighley following “astonishing” results among test patients.

The revolutionary eating plan saw an 85% drop in diabetes medication for people who took part in the initial pilot scheme through local GP surgeries.

The Very Low Carbohydrate Diet Programme, spearheaded by doctors in the Modality Partnership, helps patients manage, or even reverse, diabetes without medication.

The first trials, which began early in 2018, also showed improvements in control of diabetes, cholesterol levels, and reductions in body fat and overall weight.

One of the first participants, Ian Thompson of Newsholme, near Keighley, said the low-carb regime helped him lose four stone in weight in 18 months and enabled him to come off specialist drugs within weeks.

Modality, which runs several local medical practices, is now inviting all local people with type 2 diabetes to volunteer for one of the 330 free places on the extended pilot scheme.

Modality believes its latest pilot will be the biggest clinically-led trial for a low carb diet in the UK so far.

Dr Tom Ratcliffe, a GP at Holycroft Surgery in Keighley, said the Modality team was delighted to offer the Very Low Carb Programme to more patients in Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven.

He said: “We have been astonished by the results that we have seen in patients with diabetes, and we want more local people to benefit from the programme.

“We want to get the message out to all local people with type 2 diabetes, go and see your GP and ask if you can be referred for this programme.

“We are confident you will experience results that could even reverse your diabetes and get you off medication for good.”

Ian Thompson, 79, has had type II diabetes for more than 13 years, in which time he moved through diet control and increased medication until he was advised to begin daily injections of insulin.

Instead, through Oakworth Medical Practice, he began the Very Low Carb pilot in April last year, his wife Jan adopting the same diet and herself losing more than two stones.

Mr Thompson said: “It’s completely changed my life! I feel wonderful, have lost over four stone in weight, I am much fitter able to enjoy life to the full and haven’t taken any prescribed drugs for diabetes from the day I started the course.

“My diabetes is controlled entirely by changing my diet and lifestyle and I thank my GP for offering me this opportunity. It’s been much easier as I’ve had full support from my wife.

“I was originally very sceptical, but now I would encourage anyone to try this diet if they are obese, diabetic, or both. It’s been for my wife and I.”

Modality’s GPs are working closely with Airedale Hospital and community provider Keighley Healthy Living to offer the new treatment.

The extended pilot scheme will involve eight group sessions run over four months with support from dietitians from Airedale Hospital, “expert patients”, and the GP practice team.

There will be free, practical “cook and eat” sessions run by Keighley Healthy Living for participants to join in.

To take part, people must be referred by their GP. Anyone who wishes to know more should talk with their doctor.

Laura Rowe, Dietetics Professional Lead from the hospital, said the Airedale Dietetics Service was “really excited” to work in collaboration with Modality to deliver the new education programme for people with type 2 diabetes.

She said: “The program supports participants to reduce the carbohydrate content of their diet to target weight loss and improve diabetes control.”

Melanie Hey, chief executive officer at Keighley Healthy Living, which runs the training sessions, said: “We are very excited to be involved with this project and supporting people with practical cooking skills, recipe ideas and tips to be more active.”

Modality Partnership is a ‘super-partnership’ led by GPs that operates clusters of medical practices in various parts of the UK.

The local cluster includes Farfield, Kilmeny and Holycroft in Keighley, Fisher in Skipton, and Haworth, Cross Hills and Oakworth medical practices.

Medical professionals across the UK are working to persuade the NHS to modify its advice on dealing with diabetes and adopt low-carb diets as a mainstream treatment for patients.